Changing Strings

Ask Katy

Hi Katy, Question for John: I have recently started to play Bass and play every day for at least an hour. I have no idea when strings need changing! Is it only when they break or is there a noticeable change in sound. If so any recommendations on manufacturer? Kind Regards, Chris (Suffolk, England)

"Hello Chris. There are two schools of thought here, and you will probably want to find a middle way. Two of the greatest bass players as far as I am concerned, Motown man James Jamerson and the equally legendary Chic bassist Bernard Edwards, NEVER changed their strings. They both liked the build up of sweat and residue, and they liked the dullness that creeps in after hours of being played without a change. At the opposite end to that spectrum, the John Entwistle hard rock style requires a bright, hard, bouncy sound, with a lot of sustain, that usually means you have your roadie change all four strings in between each gig. I can go for weeks without changing my E string in particular, I usually leave the decision of when to change strings to my sonic valet Beetmoll Troy- who makes his decisions usually based on fear- that a string may be about to break. In the studio I have worked with producers who like my strings changed fresh, daily, and others who like the dullness only old and tired strings have. JT"